Slack gets travel and expense report tools with SAP Concur bot integration

Slack users can search and pay for flights, while also being notified of expense reports that need approval.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • New @ConcurExpense and @ConcurTravel bots from SAP will bring travel booking capabilities and expense report notifications to Slack.
  • The partnership with SAP shows how seriously Slack views its enterprise customers, and that it is willing to meet the needs of traditional enterprises, not just startups.

New @ConcurExpense and @ConcurTravel bots from SAP will bring expense report notifications and business travel booking capabilities to Slack, the company announced in a Wednesday press release.

A Concur bot on Slack was the "number one requested bot" by customers, the release said. With these new functionalities, Slack is more effectively targeting traditional enterprise customers. This is also an example of how artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bots are coming into their own as direct replacements for human assistants.

"Conversational interfaces will undoubtedly change the way you manage common business workflows," the release said. "Think about the amount of time that will be saved when bots are booking and expensing on your behalf so that you can stay focused on changing the world."

SEE: Travel and business expense policy (Tech Pro Research)

The Concur expense bot was trialled in a private beta last year, with limited functionality, the release said. Now, the firm is moving it to public beta, and is also planning the launch of the travel bot as well.

The expense bot will notify a user in Slack when a report requires their approval. And, according to the release, they'll be able to approve the report in Slack as well. Users can also upload receipts for expense reports through the @ConcurExpense bot, which will automatically save them to their SAP Concur account.

The expense bot will also handle some basic expense requests as well. One example given in the release was to "write a simple message such as 'expense $15 for lunch' and the bot will automatically send this to your SAP Concur account."

Users can also type certain requests to get summaries of their latest expense reports and more.

With the travel bot, which "will be released in the coming months," users can search for flights, filtering by destination or departure and arrival dates, the release said. Users can also get the bot to filter by fare, airline company, and more.

Once the flight is found, the @ConcurTravel bot will facilitate payment by auto-populating the proper credit card information and frequent flyer account number. Users will also be able to ask Slack for their itineraries or flight details through the bot as well.

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Image: iStockphoto/wutwhanfoto

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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